For drivers seeking commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs), South Carolina CDL training is an important tool to take advantage of. Drivers who enroll in CDL school are able to prepare for the exams needed to obtain a license and gain valuable experience for their careers. When applying for a CDL, drivers must prove their ability to operate commercial vehicles safely and successfully. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires applicants to pass several written and on-road tests, which cover all of the necessary skills.

Truck driving school in SC typically lasts a few weeks and covers a range of topics. These courses are offered at a variety of locations, including college campuses and private facilities. While not required, these CDL classes help prepare drivers to enter this career field. In addition to knowledge and experience, drivers can also obtain career placement services through these programs. Overall, CDL programs offer drivers a stepping stool into successful careers as commercial truckers.

What is CDL training in South Carolina?

South Carolina CDL classes are designed to help residents prepare for careers in the commercial trucking industry. Like first-time driver’s education, CDL prep is also beneficial for passing the mandatory exams. In order to apply, the DMV requires applicants to meet several qualifications.

One of the most important requirements is that each driver must prove his or her ability to safely operate a commercial truck. This is verified using a series of written knowledge and road tests. All commercial drivers are required to obtain a CDL to operate this type of vehicle.

The best way for a driver to gain the skills and experience needed to get a CDL is to complete a comprehensive CDL training course. There are several classifications of CDL a driver can obtain training in, including:

  • Class A: Drivers obtain Class A CDL training in order to operate certain towing vehicles. Class A CDLs are needed for vehicles that tow more than 10,000 pounds with a total combined gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds.
  • Class B: Class B CDL training is also used for vehicles that weigh a minimum of 26,001 pounds. However, this classification only covers vehicles towing less than 10,001 pounds.
  • Class C: This classification is reserved for commercial vehicles that do not fit into the Class A or Class B categories. Examples include passenger vehicles with at least 16 passengers.

Is CDL school required in South Carolina?

According to the state DMV, SC truck driving school is only mandatory for certain types of commercial driving. In particular, drivers seeking CDLs with a school bus endorsement must complete school bus-related training. This specific type of CDL training is administered through the Department of Education. Drivers are required to complete a minimum of 10 hours in training, six of which must be spent on the road. In addition, a school bus endorsement test is required in addition to the general written and driving tests.

Official CDL prep courses are not required by the state for most other applicants. However, the DMV highly encourages drivers to enroll in these courses in order to receive adequate training. The experience gained in a professional training course is an invaluable asset for completing the CDL tests, for understanding the driving and distracted driving laws as well as for becoming a safe and successful commercial driver.

Curriculum of South Carolina CDL Classes

SC truck driver training courses are generally divided into multiple parts in order to cover each aspect of the commercial driving tests. These CDL courses often consist of two parts, including the in-classroom portion and the hands-on portion. Although different amounts of time may be allocated to each of these parts, both are equally important for drivers.

Those who do not pass the first test must take it again before they move onto the next test and eventually receive a CDL. As such, it is important for drivers to understand what each part of their course will entail.

In-Class Instruction for the CDL Written Test

There are no CDL training online classes, even for the written part of the course. Instead, drivers must attend a number of sessions in the classroom to study for the written knowledge exam. This official CDL written test is often made up of several exams depending on the type of CDL a driver needs. Every driver must first pass a CDL general knowledge test, which covers the basic laws and practices for commercial driving in the state.

Certain CDLs and endorsements then require additional testing, such an air brakes, passenger transport or combination vehicles tests. At the end of each training course, instructors often give an online CDL test that is similar to these official exams. The score on this test can help drivers determine if they are ready to take the written exam and move on to the driving test.

Behind-the-Wheel Instruction for the CDL Driving Test

After passing the written CDL test, drivers obtain their CDL permit in order to practice for the driving exam. Applicants must hold a valid permit for a minimum of 14 before they are able to take this exam. This CDL driving test is also divided into multiple parts, including:

  • A pre-trip vehicle inspection.
  • A vehicle control test.
  • An on-road exam.

To prepare for the CDL driving exam, instructors make sure their students get plenty of time behind the wheel. This also allows drivers to gain invaluable experience that they can use in their careers. Practicing safety precautions and maneuvers will ensure that they are prepared for many situations they may encounter on the road.

How long is CDL training in South Carolina?

The length of a CDL school program can vary widely. Since the DMV does make this training mandatory, CDL schools are able to design the courses without restriction. Depending on the level of intensity, courses can stretch anywhere between three to nine weeks.

CDL classes offered through colleges and universities typically mirror the traditional semester format. Shorter courses are also available for students who only need a refresher, such as those about to complete the CDL renewal process.

Drivers must remember to choose a training program that fits their CDP prep needs as well as their schedules. Certain courses, such as those for the Class B CDL training are often shorter than those for a Class A CDL.

Regardless, most programs divide their coursework into two sections. The first part of the course covers the written exam. The second portion makes sure to allocate a significant number of hours behind the wheel.

Best CDL Schools Near Me in South Carolina

“How can I find the best truck driving school near me?” is the next important question once you decide to enroll in a training program. CDL courses are typically offered by private companies, universities and technical colleges. The following is a list of some of the top local training facilities:

  • Truck Driver Institute Inc. is known as one of the best CDL schools in the area because of its high-placement rate. Currently, the company reports a 90 percent rate of job placement to those who graduate from its 15-day program.
  • York Technical College offers Class A and B courses as well as permit and refresher classes for students of all levels of experience. This school partners with successful trucking companies both locally and nationally to provide industry-level training.
  • Sage Truck Driving Schools provides both basic and advanced courses in tractor-trailer operation as well as a Class B course and externship. Class lengths vary, so students can choose the course that best fits their goals and schedules.
  • Greenville Technical College is an accredited institution that offers an extensive nine-week CDL training Through this course, students earn a truck driving certificate while gaining knowledge and hands-on experience with the latest industry technology.

Benefits of Completing South Carolina Truck Driving School

Enrollment in an official CDL school is beneficial for any aspiring commercial driver, for several reasons. While the main purpose is to help students prepare for their exams, they also gain many other advantages as well. Many training facilities offer CDL job placement with the top local trucking companies.

In these courses, students receive guided instruction in the classroom as well as out on the road. This experience is invaluable because it allows drivers to prepare for different situations in a safe environment. Moreover, most CDL jobs expect their drivers to complete a certain level of training.

With this in mind, one of the biggest benefits that comes with enrollment in a CDL training program is career assistance. This partnership allows companies to offer jobs to the most qualified candidates. As a result, many programs have high-placement rates. Others offer lifetime placement services for drivers who need new positions later on.

CDL Training Costs in South Carolina

With the extensive CDL training provided, courses are often pricey. CDL training costs generally depend on the length and type of class you choose to enter. For example, courses offered through a technical college or university can amount to several hundred or thousands of dollars, like other college courses. Some smaller courses can range between $200 and $300.

Either way, it is possible to get free CDL training with the right program. Some training facilities are able to accept certain scholarships and grants to cover tuition. Alternately, trucking companies often provide tuition reimbursement for new employees. You can even get paid while training for a CDL and endorsements with certain employers.

Some companies offer their own training programs for you to complete during your first few weeks of employment. This allows you to earn a paycheck and gain industry experience while you train.

If you seek company paid CDL training, then keep in mind that this often requires you to sign a work contract with the company. In other words, you are required to work for this company for a certain amount of time in exchange for your training costs.

Note: CDL training costs are usually separate from the mandatory DOT physical exam for CDL credentials as well as other licensing fees.

How to Self-Prep for South Carolina CDL Exams

Aside from CDL training courses, there are also a few other resources for you to rely on to prepare for your CDL career. Several third-party websites offer a free CDL practice test for users to complete. These practice tests are created using questions that are similar to those on the DMV’s official written test.

Depending on which provider you choose, the questions may cover general knowledge or endorsement information. You can use practice tests to make a CDL study guide that covers topics you need to spend more time on.

The official commercial driver manual is another important resource to take advantage of. The DMV designs this manual to cover all of the topics related to CDLs, including laws and proper driving practices. Often, the questions on the written test are pulled straight from the manual itself.

It is highly beneficial to familiarize yourself with this manual before you apply for your license. However, even the CDL handbook is not considered a solid substitute for a comprehensive training program. The best approach to ensure you pass the test is to utilize a combination of these resources.

Last updated on Friday, March 15 2019.

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